PIRANESI, Giovanni Battista
(b. 1720, Mestre, d. 1778, Roma)

View of the Lateran Basilica

Etching, 489 x 708 mm
Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence

This etching belongs to the series Vedute di Roma (Views of Rome).

This is an ideal equivalent to the view with St Peter's and the Vatican, in the splendour of its urban setting. This late panel from the Vedute series reveals the way in which the Lateran building seemed, even in the 18th century, the destination of a path that was not very frequently on the usual tourist trail, the final step in a traditional pilgrimage only followed on festive days, but mainly isolated on the margins of the Aurelian Walls. An antithesis to the monumental and modern vision of the Lateran Basilica, as offered by Piranesi on many other occasions, the view isolates the architecture - transformed by a radical urban intervention under Sixtus V - in an open space.

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